Garrison Keillor reminds us that today is the anniversary of (July 5,

1687) when Newton published "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia

Mathematica, or "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.... the

Principia contained Newton's three laws of motion, including, ....

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Note the binary formulation: an equal and opposite reaction. We might

wonder if there is not a third force here, what Jan Cox called, E

force, or the unexpected, the irrelevant, coming into play each

second. Which sounds smug, but I am just trying to widen that small

aperture through which we see the world.

The historical treatment of Newton though is also a great example of

binary thought, in that, the work that equally involved him, his work

on religious issues, is never investigated. So for sure at least one

third of Newton's thought is ignored. Newton the scientist and Newton

the Alchemist are two sides, the good Newton and the old-fashioned

Newton. Whereas, with a figure this brilliant, you might have thought,

perhaps the entire corpus of his work should be studied with a view

towards greater comprehensibility.

This is the kind of approach though which the rigor mortis of binary

thought makes unlikely. A large part of Newton's thought can be just

ignored, the same way human experience, being labeled subjective, can

just be ignored by scientists.

Myself, I wonder if you can really understand Newton without studying

all his work to appreciate what he was saying.